For nine years, Mrs. Diane Zinck provided smiles and stability to the high school. She served as the WHS secretary and assistant to Dr. Jamie Chisum up until the end of last school year, when she transitioned into the role of Administrative Assistant to Dr. David Lussier, the WPS superintendent.
Zinck misses the atmosphere of the high school, along with the unpredictability that each day presented.
“I miss what we’re doing right now, working with the students and the smell, the sound, this building is constantly moving, it’s constantly fluid, and some days it goes what you think is going to happen, and some days it doesn’t happen. I miss all that energy, that really alive energy,” she said.
Zinck also notes the valuable life lessons she’s learned from her time at the high school.
“When I first started, I wished I could come here and go to high school. I wanted to go to the classes and learn here, and I feel like I did”, she said, “I feel like nine years later I know I’m smarter, I know I’m a better person, I know I learned a lot about diversity, I learned a lot about equity, and kindness, and it just brought me into this whole other world,” she said.
She formed a formidable trio with Chisum and Mr. Tom Zinck, her loving husband and longtime building manager of the high school. Mr. Zinck sadly passed away in the spring of 2021.
“I have probably my most favorite and special memories here, working with my husband, it was the time of our lives, I loved working with him, and between him and me and Dr. Chisum, I felt like we could make anything happen,” she said.
One of Mrs. Zinck’s favorite parts of being secretary was seeing and interacting with colleagues and students. She still communicates with students who have graduated, and sees her colleagues as friends and family.
“All of the other stuff seems secondary, all of the secretary stuff and the booking and all that,” she said, “what I loved the most was meeting kids and seeing them come in every day with their friends.”
Even though she was happy to be getting a promotion, Zinck finds it hard to not regularly see the people she’s worked with for so long.
“They[colleagues] are some of my best friends, and that was the hardest part of it. I still haven’t come to terms that I really left, I think I’m still in denial, I really do. I know I had to do it, it was a good thing for me, to move on, but I kind of haven’t grappled with the fact that I don’t see everyone everyday.”
She is excited for the opportunity to support the superintendent at his job, and to begin a new adventure. Zinck says she is learning more and challenging herself with the change of roles.
For Zinck, the high school is more than just a workplace, it will always be a huge part of her life and identity.
“When I come in here, I feel comfortable, I feel like this is an extension of my life, my comfort place. I always know that my husband’s spirit will be here because he loved it just as much as I do. It has a very special feeling, it’s not just all work and wood, it’s not that to me, it’s a very special place that holds all of us. It’s magical I think, it transforms all of us to be better and learn more,” she said.
Mr. John Malone, who most recently worked as the secretary of the middle school, has stepped into the high school role. Malone comes from a sales background, working at companies like Sony and Apple.
Rather than selling to schools, Malone decided to try working at a school. He was encouraged by a desire to do something different, and by his partner, who also works in the Wellesley School system.
“Through a series of fortunate incidents, I met with the assistant principals over there [middle school]. And they said there’s never been a male person who has worked in any offices in Wellesley schools, there’s been principals, assistant principals, but not in the secretarial support staff. I was the test subject and it worked out well,” he said.
Malone doesn’t regret his decision to move from business to school administration. Similar to Zinck, Malone learns something new every day, from many different people.
“When I come into this building, I learn from the student body; there’s 1200 young people here. I learn how teachers deal with the students, and how the assistant principals deal with everything you can imagine.”
In addition to learning from students, Malone recognizes the important role that teachers and faculty have in students’ lives and futures.
“The principal here is a lot more responsible for the student body in that we have people going to college and preparing for their future, so the onus on the connection with students and parents is a lot greater here”, he said, “there’s more students and they’re more involved as well. I probably communicate more directly with students here than at the middle school.”
As Malone adapts to his new work environment, his colleagues have made the transition easier, providing help wherever they can.
“I have to tell you, this is a wonderful office and I work with awesome people. I came in and I didn’t know where anything was. I didn’t know who did what. They [colleagues] were immediately by my side helping, you know, ‘I can do that with you or I can show you how that’s done.’ I feel very supported by the people I work with. They’re great, great people,” he said.